NZ Sign Language interpreter uses social media platforms to share her reo with aroha

By Marena Mane

New Zealand sign language interpreter Nora Moana-Kirikiri of Te Aitanga a Mahaki, appeared on Facebook news feeds this year during Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, signing to Māori and Pākehā waiata, causing a sensation and raising awareness of Te Reo Rotarota.

The New Zealand Sign Language Act 2006 made New Zealand sign language, commonly known as NZSL, Te Reo Turi, and Te Reo Rotarota, an official language of Aotearoa.

Moana-Kirikiri says she was inspired by her mahi as an NZSL communicator at Ebbett Park School in Hastings to share the beautiful language on her social media platforms.

“I'm very passionate about my mahi. I just love my job, love my culture, my language, and I just really enjoy sharing that with people.”

Moana-Kirikiri says she learned NZSL as a child with a profoundly deaf childhood friend and has been signing ever since.

“I also have two nieces who are deaf, so it's in my whānau,” she says.

With 5,000 Facebook followers, Moana-Kirikiri says she enjoys seeing people embrace Te Reo Rotarota. Her most popular song is Six60's waiata, Pepeha.

“But Six60 if you're watching, I would absolutely jump at the opportunity along with my support crew, Ebbett Park School.”

Moana-Kirikiri says she aspires to be trilingual in all of Aotearoa's official languages, like her idol Stephanie Awheto.

‘She is a huge role model of mine … she's the world's most proficient interpreter in Te Reo sign language and I hope to one day follow in her footsteps.”

You can find Nora Moana-Kirikiri on Facebook: NZSL with Nora Rose Kirikiri and Nora Rose Kirikiri on YouTube